Deke Luhmann is set to start Thursday on his 10th annual Memory Walk, a fundraiser for the fight against Alzheimer's disease. All contributions remain in the region.
Luhmann, the maintenance director at Four Corners Health Care Center, will walk from Durango to Cortez, where he will arrive Saturday to lead a Memory Walk at Parque de la Vida starting at 10 a.m. Luhmann will spend Thursday night on the road, camped at the Target Tree campground.
Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease of the brain and the most common form of dementia. One in 10 people older than 65 and almost half of those 85 and older have Alzheimer's. It's the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
"Deke walked to Silverton a couple of years when we had the Memory Walk there," said Elaine Stumpo, regional director of the Alzheimer's Association in Durango.
The regional office serves La Plata, Archuleta, Dolores, Mineral, Montezuma, Ouray, San Juan, Hinsdale and Ouray
"Deke's commitment to the cause is amazing," Stumpo said. "It blows me away."
Luhmann, 46, has been a Memory Walk regular since someone told him that, as an endurance athlete, he'd be a natural for it. Luhmann has swum across Lake Powell, done the Iron Horse bicycle race a number of times and has been a backpacker for years.
Memory Walk is a national campaign that takes place in more than 450 communities in September and October to raise money for services for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families and caregivers.